By Jonas Gagnon
What a busy week. First Joe Oliver sends out an open letter painting all Enbridge intervenors with the same brush, and then a group of the First Nations decide to set up a road block with no forewarning.
I knew I would be busy when I came up here, but I never thought I would be quite this busy.
Of course, with the beginning of the Enbridge hearings that whole issue comes to head, especially with Federal politicians like Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper running their mouths, or pens as it were.
For those who haven’t heard the chatter about Harper and Oliver’s comments it can be boiled down to everyone who disagrees with us is a radical and bankrolled by foreigners.
To be a little more specific, and a lot less venomous, Oliver has stated that a bunch of jet-setters, radicals and foreigners are trying to clog the committee hearings to stop the project at all costs. While Harper is advocating on streamlining the approval process for big projects like these so environmental, or community groups, can’t push the project off-track.
But ignore the fact that the Enbridge pipeline is foreign backed, Oliver tells us, because these are the good guys. They’re bringing in money. Well, somewhere around 560 permanent jobs to B.C., to risk tens of thousands in the fisheries and wildlife sector if anything were ever to go wrong, something, Enbridge will be quick to tell you, that won’t happen. Except when it does. Like off the coast of Louisiana where a patch of bubbles hints at a leak in Enbridge’s natural gas pipeline. A leak that was discovered on the day the hearings began. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Enbridge.
In my short time here I’ve met a lot of people who love the land where they live. I’ve heard almost everyone talk about the beauty of this town. We all know we have a stake in keeping this province of ours as beautiful as it is. One of the things we do to protect the beautiful nature around us is to make the process for developing it arduous, so that a company that has not done its work, and is not willing to do the work to make our province safe, gets sifted out. To make the process less arduous is to increase the risk to the people in our province.
Harper made his name advocating for the west. Apparently now that Harper has made his home back out in the east he’s not so concerned about the people in the west anymore, as long as those tax dollars flow to the government.
Which is at least part of what the First Nations were protesting out in the cold on Highway 27.
They’re seeing a lot of flow on that highway, creating danger for other users of the highway. And most of that fast flowing traffic catches the money in it’s southerly current, never to be seen from again.
It’s a common, and long running dispute, whether you’re talking about the East vs. West divide in Canada, or the Lower Mainland vs. pretty-much-everywhere-else divide in BC. we may make money up here, but that doesn’t mean the money stays here.
We see lots of activity up here, logging, mining, and now the proposal for the pipeline. The sad things is too often we see the money flowing out with those same trucks that carry away the logs.
The Enbridge pipeline looks like largely the same thing: another way to flow money through the province to the big boys.
But after all that controversy all I want is to sit back with a beer and watch the blues concert (luckily press passes still work when the show’s sold out). Now there’s a story that’ll be nothing but pleasure to cover.